Boeing is using its engineering prowess to create personal protective gear for healthcare workers as the dominant aerospace and defense company’s troubled production lines remain dormant and a majority of its workforce remains at home.
“The Department of Health and Human Services accepted the initial shipment of 2,300 face shields this morning,” the company said in a press release. The shields are slated to aid workers at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which has been converted to treat patients with COVID-19.
Boeing also said it has donated tens of thousands of units of its own supplies of face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses, and protective bodysuits to support healthcare professionals battling COVID-19.
"Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time," Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said in the press release. "History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government's response to this global pandemic."
‘We will take this time to... assess applicable government direction’
Boeing said the face shields were produced with “additive manufacturing machines” at various of its manufacturing sites in Washington state, Missouri, California, Arizona, Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Oregon, and subsidiary sites in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In addition, the company utilized suppliers Solvay and Trelleborg Sealing Solutions to fabricate clear film and elastic adjustable headbands.
On April 5, Boeing extended a temporary suspension of its production operations in the Puget Sound area and at its Moses Lake sites in Washington state. The suspensions impact efforts to continue work mandated by the FAA before its grounded 737 Max returns to service. On Tuesday, the aerospace giant said it planned to make two new software updates to the plane’s flight control computer.
A limited number of employees who continue to work at its facilities adopted new visual cues to encourage physical distancing and have been placed on staggered shifts.
“The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal said in an earlier statement. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.”
Alexis Keenan is a reporter for Yahoo Finance and former litigation attorney.
Follow Alexis Keenan on Twitter @alexiskweed.